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Thousands Rally Against Japan in China

Thousands of anti-Japanese protesters march through Shanghai
On the eve of a visit by Japan's foreign minister to Beijing, thousands of Chinese took to the streets in at least three cities to protest Japan's approval of a school textbook allegedly glossing over its 20th century aggression in Asia. Japan has lodged a protest about a wave of rowdy demonstrations in China this past week.

Protesters hurled stones at the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai and smashed windows and signs at Japanese restaurants.

Riot police stood outside the consulate but appeared to do little to stop the crowd.

Despite a government appeal for restraint, thousands more protested in the eastern cities of Hangzhou and Tianjin - capping a week of anti-Japanese demonstrations in China.

Japan has repeatedly urged China to stop the protesters.

Saturday Beijing was calm as riot police guarded the Japanese Embassy, which was damaged by demonstrators last Saturday.

The Chinese are angry at what they say is Japan's latest minimizing of its imperialist past in new school textbooks approved this month. Japan occupied parts of China and other countries before and during the Second World War.

Tokyo's new campaign to seek a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council - in which China is the only Asian permanent member - has also fueled Chinese nationalist sentiment.

Japan has followed a pacifist policy since its wartime defeat in 1945. But under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Tokyo has made its neighbors nervous with a more assertive foreign policy - for the first time deploying troops beyond its borders, but only in a non-combat capacity to conflict zones.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, who is scheduled to meet Chinese officials in Beijing Sunday to diffuse tensions, says the latest incidents in China against Japanese facilities are "extremely regrettable" and will be "strongly protested."